Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 11:03 UK

Promoter discusses concert losses

Randy Phillips, president of AEG
Phillips said Jackson's rehearsals had been "breathtaking"

Concert promoter Randy Phillips says Michael Jackson's death will not spell the end of his company, AEG Live.

"People have speculated that this is going to bankrupt our company," the businessman told Billboard magazine. "The truth is, it isn't."

Phillips said insurance was in place to cover Jackson's advance, although insurers may not pay out if the star's death turns out to be drug-related.

He added that money could be recouped from footage of the tour rehearsals.

A short video of Jackson's final run-through of the This Is It concert was released to media on Thursday, and Phillips says more could be released commercially.

"We own the intellectual property," he told Billboard.

"It is our responsibility... to monetize as much of these assets as we can under the original contract, because the majority of the profit would go to the estate."

The promoter added that the rehearsal videos contained "some of the most compelling footage in the 21st century, because you're talking about a star whose light shined brighter than anything else in the universe when it comes to music".


Footage of Michael Jackson rehearsing, courtesy AEG Live

AEG will have to refund up to $85m (£52m) to fans who purchased tickets for Jackson's 50-date residency at London's O2 arena.

It is also believed to have spent $23-25m (£14-15m) on production costs. Phillips said those "hard costs" were covered by insurance, although profits were not.

Under normal circumstances, insurers would not pay out if Jackson's death turned out to be due to a pre-existing condition, or misuse of prescription drugs.

However, Phillips insisted - as he has in the past - that the star had been subjected to a thorough medical examination as part of the insurer's conditions for covering the London concerts.

"He absolutely, 100% had a close to five-hour physical," he said.

"We were obviously never privy to the actual medical reports, because this was confidential medical information between the doctor and the patient.

"However, we were told that he passed with flying colours."

Tribute plans

The county coroner's office in Los Angeles completed an autopsy last week.

It said there was no indication of any external trauma or foul play - but deferred announcing the cause of death while toxicology tests were carried out.

These could take between four to six weeks to complete.

Jackson tribute
Fans have created a makeshift shrine to Jackson at the O2 arena

Phillips admitted the biggest problem facing AEG at the moment was what to do with the O2 arena, which now lies empty for 50 nights.

"We'll fill in the 2010 dates because the arena's in such demand," he said, and hinted that elements of Jackson's "breathtaking" production could be recycled for a tribute concert.

"It would be some closure for fans who have nowhere to really express their emotion and are looking for a place," he said, adding that several artists had expressed an interest in taking part in such a show.

Fans are being offered full refunds on their tickets to the O2 show, although AEG is also offering special commemorative tickets to fans who do not ask for their money back.

Many fans have said they will donate their refunds to charity.

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